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Gov. Scott Signs Law Protecting Veterans, Military from Scammers

Bobbie O'Brien
WUSF Public Media

Whether they’re offering predatory car loans or trying to sell burial services at the VA National Cemeteries  – there are scammers who prey on active-duty military and veterans.

Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 1223 that gives service members an added layer of protection from fraud and scams in state law.

“The bill creates a significant civil penalty that will be added on top of restitution for attempting to steal from our veterans and  their families.” Scott said during a bill signing ceremony at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. “This new layer of protection will send a strong message to the nation that in Florida we’ll do whatever it takes to protect our veterans and their families.

A special invitee to the bill signing was Holly Petraeus, wife of retired four-star Gen. David Petraeus. Holly Petraeus works at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which enforces federal consumer laws and her focus is keeping military members safe from predatory lenders.

Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
Flanked by dozens of veterans, Holly Petraeus speaks at the podium. Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott stand to the left.

“I think we all can agree it’s pretty disgraceful when people will use someone’s military or veterans status to take advantage of them,” Petraeus said. “And if you think it doesn’t happen all you have to do is go online and Google military loans and 51 million things will come up.”

Dozens of veterans stood as a backdrop to the governor during the ceremony while dozens of active-duty military were in the audience.

The governor said the bill takes effect immediately, July 1, 2013.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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